My name is Spencer Bailey and I am a Sophomore at Loyola University Chicago. I am originally from Southeastern Missouri, but I have family in the Chicago area and my father was born and raised here.
This blog is for the purpose of documenting my thoughts and progression throughout my participation in the Ramonat Seminar. In case you don’t know what the Ramonat Seminar is, here is a quote from Loyola’s website that best explains what it is:
“The Ramonat Seminar is an interdisciplinary, two-semester course that provides Loyola undergraduates with the unique opportunity to explore changing topics within American Catholic history, literature, and culture through hands-on research.”
I am majoring in Accounting, so it’s kind of confusing to some people why I may be partaking in the Ramonat Seminar, but don’t get too confused, I have a good reason. During my first semester of college in 2017, I took a class called “American Pluralism” with Timothy Gilfoyle, whom recommended me for this seminar, and without him, I likely would have overlooked my potential (Thank You Dr. Gilfoyle). It was an amazing class and brought to my attention just how intrigued and interested I am in the history of my country. Throughout the course, we learned that people of Catholic faith were perceived by early American settlers as invading the forefront of “American culture” and that it was widely believed that Catholics would never assimilate into American society.
According to Time magazine in 2015, nearly 31% of the 114thCongress was Catholic, which was about 9% higher than the public percentage of 22%. Chicago is also one of many American cities that is predominantly Catholic according to the Huffington Post, but why? In attending the Ramonat Seminar, I am interested to dive deeper into this religious predominance within U.S. politics and the effects it has had on American culture.